Whether streaming for a podcast, a video blog or other recordings with an audio track – a microphone is essential for many tasks. But which is the right one for the project that I have planned? Are there any good microphones that are still inexpensive? What exactly do I have to watch out for?
In our Microphone buyer review guide, we answer these questions and present you with detailed background information on the subject of microphones. It also introduces you to some types of microphones and explains some criteria that can help you choose the right device for you.
Microphone Essentials in Brief
- A good microphone is an indispensable tool for every audio recording. With an external microphone, you can also significantly improve the sound quality in communication applications on your PC.
- A basic distinction is made between dynamic microphones and condenser microphones. The former are more for stage use, the latter for studio recordings. The capacitor technology is also used in electret microphones for PC applications.
- The directional characteristic is also important – this determines whether a microphone receives the sound from the front or evenly from all directions.
Best Microphone Reviews:
Best Studio Microphone
- HOME RECORDING STUDIO: The auna condenser streaming microphone lets every amateur musician work comfortably at home as a professional. In addition to...
The Auna MIC-900B is a high-quality USB microphone with an electret capacitor. It offers very appealing sound quality at a fair price. A microphone spider for noise reduction is included in the accessories.
An electret capacitor has a great advantage as you do not need an additional power supply. Neither a battery nor an additional adapter with a separate power connection is required to operate the MIC-900B – you can simply plug the microphone into the USB socket of your PC and get started.
Best Classic Microphone
- PC desk and handheld microphone with excellent recording quality for speech and vocals, ideal for brilliant voice recordings.
The SPEEDLINK Capo is a table microphone that offers you satisfactory sound quality for little money. You can use it well for speech applications – e.g. Skyping, podcasting or in PC games.
The SPEEDLINK Capo is a dynamic microphone. Because of their robustness, such microphones are often used for live performances, especially for vocal performances.
Best Microphone for Cell Phone
With its special surface, this microphone from NASUM offers optimal sound isolation and suppression of background noise. The microphone can be used ideally for your cell phone or PC because it can be plugged in with a 3.5 mm jack.
This makes it well suited for podcasts and studio recordings, but above all also for apps like Youtube or Skype. An accessory is also supplied in the form of a stand and pop protection.
Best Podcast Microphone
The Samson Meteor microphone is extremely easy to use via USB and delivers very good recording quality at a low price. You can use it well for podcasting, for skyping, but also for simple music recordings.
The advantage over the classic capacitor with the electret variant is that you do not need any external power supply for your microphone – just connect to USB and off you go. The sound quality is very good for Skype, Teamspeak etc. You can also record music with it if you don’t have too high demands.
Best Mini Microphone
- High sensitivity headphone mic
The Zalman ZM-MIC1 is a very small microphone that can be attached to clothing. Such mics are also called Lavalier microphones. Although it is very cheap, it offers you everyday sound quality. You can use the ZM-MIC1 very well for skyping, for podcasting or team peak.
According to users, the Zalman ZM-MIC1 has very good audio quality for its price. The Zalman ZM-MIC1 has an omnidirectional polar pattern. This means that the microphone picks up sound equally from all directions.
FAQ: Questions to think about before you buy a Microphone
Where can I buy a microphone?
It also depends on what kind of mic you want. Simple microphones (e.g. for video cameras, for skyping) are available in every electronics store. But if you are a musician and value high-quality recording, you can go to a music store of your choice.
There you can test the microphones and then choose the product of your choice. Alternatively, you can also order the items from an online provider. You can get affordable microphones for any purpose at Amazon UK.
How much does a (good) microphone cost?
You can get very simple microphones – for example as accessories for your smartphone – for less than 10 euros from Amazon.
It is similar with dynamic microphones, which you can buy online or in music stores. The lowest price limit for condenser microphones for vocal recordings is around 50 euros.
But if you value good quality, you need to spend more: Dynamic mics start from around 100 euros, for a condenser micro you have to spend 200 euros or more.
Can I also rent a microphone?
Yes, if you only occasionally need a microphone, whether condenser microphone or dynamic microphone, you can also rent it cheaply from a music dealer of your choice. You get the already mentioned SM57 on loan for € 5 a day.
Pattern: Omnidirectional, Cardioid, directional microphones
The directional characteristic is also important for microphones – this refers to the area in which a microphone records sounds, e.g. from all sides or primarily “from the front”. Make sure to select the right one depending on your needs.
Connection types: jacks, mini jacks and XLR connections
There are very different connection types for microphones.
XLR sockets have become established in the professional field. Cheap microphones (e.g. for laptops or camcorders), on the other hand, use the small mini jacks that fit into the sockets of PC sound cards. Large jack plugs are also used in the hi-fi area.
What types of microphones are there and which is the right one for you?
There are different types of microphones, each with different sound properties. It is not simply about “better” or “worse” – it depends on the purpose.
In principle, however, all microphones work the same. Sound causes a membrane to vibrate, which converts the mechanical energy of the sound into electrical energy. This creates electrical impulses, which are then transported to the recording device via a microphone cable. In short, a microphone is a transducer.
Depending on whether you want to record a song with your band, need reliable amplification when singing at a live event, or simply want to enhance the sound of your camera with an external microphone, you can find a wide variety of microphones.
The most common types of microphones are:
- Dynamic microphone
- Condenser microphone
- Electret microphone
How does a dynamic microphone work and what is it particularly suitable for?
With this microphone, a membrane is attached within a magnetic field, which is set in motion by sound.
This creates different voltages. This microphone is available in two designs: the moving coil microphone and the ribbon microphone, which is used less frequently.
How does a condenser microphone work and what is it particularly suitable for?
Condenser microphones are the standard for studio recordings and have particularly high sound quality.
Condenser microphones are preferred in recording studios because of their good sound quality, thanks to their very thin membrane. Large diaphragm microphones are suitable for rap and vocal recordings, as well as for instruments, whereas small diaphragm models are more suitable for instrumental recordings. At high noise levels, however, they distort more easily than dynamic microphones. They are also significantly more expensive.
This microphone is based on the principle of an electrical plate capacitor: the membrane of a capacitor microphone is electrically conductive – at least on the surface.
How does an electret microphone work and what is it particularly suitable for?
The electret microphone is clearly the most widespread microphone and is mainly used in communication devices such as cell phones.
The electret microphone is very similar in design to the condenser microphone. This mic has an electret film attached to the capacitor plate that is permanently under voltage. This voltage is provided either internally using a battery or externally.
As with the capacitor micro, the plate is opposite the vibrating membrane, whereby the vibrations are converted into voltage fluctuations by the capacitor.
it is often used in smartphones or headsets and is more likely to be found in the lower price range. However, there are also some very good electret microphones from well-known manufacturers.
Purchase Evaluation: You can use below mentioned factors to compare and evaluate microphones
Do you want to buy a microphone? Below we have listed which criteria you can use to compare and evaluate microphones. This makes it easier for you to decide whether a certain product is suitable for you or not.
In summary, these are:
- Sound quality
- Type of converter
- Directional pattern
- Connection type
- Need for an additional power supply
- The installation site (to be plugged in, for the desk, for the stage)
- Design of the microphone
- Price-performance ratio